News & Politics

Arizona Dems Return Donations From Lawyer Arrested for Sexual Assault Following PJ Media Report

Arizona Dems Return Donations From Lawyer Arrested for Sexual Assault Following PJ Media Report
Democrat David Garcia announces his run for Arizona governor at the state Capitol in Phoenix, on April 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Bob Christie)

Five days after PJ Media confronted Arizona Democrat governor candidate David Garcia for attacking Brett Kavanaugh over sexual assault while refusing to comment on the sexual assault charges against his donor, Sal James Rivera, Garcia and other Democrats refunded Rivera’s contributions on Tuesday.

“Hi everybody, it’s David. I’m here today to say I believe survivors,” Garcia said in a campaign video. “I believe women. I believe the 77 percent of sexual assault victims that stay silent. I’m here today to stand in solidarity with one voice, to say enough. I support you, I believe you. Thank you.” The candidate has tweeted this message with the hashtags “#BelieveSurvivors” and “#StopKavanaugh.”

When Rivera was arrested for sexual assault late last month, however, Garcia had nothing to say. Rivera allegedly groped a woman who was driving him home after got drunk at a Garcia campaign party. Rivera proceeded to apologize to the woman, according to a police report.

The Democrat candidate did not respond to multiple PJ Media requests for comment.

On Tuesday, however, CBS5’s Dennis Welch reported that the Democrat had returned the cash he received from the alleged sexual assaulter.

“When contacted Tuesday, most of the candidates said they returned the money,” Welch reported. “Garcia’s campaign said they returned $3,500 that was donated by Rivera and his wife.”

Rivera had also contributed to other Arizona Democrats. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate, refunded his $500 donation. Hiral Tipirneni, a Democrat candidate for Congress, gave a $250 contribution to charity. The campaign of Greg Stanton, another candidate for Congress, said it had contributed Rivera’s $500 donation to charity.

In August, PJ Media broke the story of Xenia Orona, Garcia’s former digital director, whom the candidate hired despite her public tweets saying “F*ck you” to Arizona, calling America a “sh*thole country,” and denouncing “law and order” as a “smokescreen” for “hate.” Orona offered her resignation the evening after the story broke.

Later that month, PJ Media exposed Garcia’s attempts to hide the fact that his daughter went to a charter school, a salient issue considering the candidate’s opposition to school choice. On the subject of education, the candidate made more than $82,000 for teaching a paltry three classes this year, with a grand total of 52 students. To make matters worse, the candidate campaigned with an activist who said of the “racist dirtbag John McCain,” “I’m not sorry he’s gone.”

Despite all this, Democratic leaders have lined up to endorse Garcia. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) backed him, as did former president Barack Obama.

Garcia has run an identity politics campaign, calling for the abolition of ICE and even going so far as to declare that someone with his last name should win the election, due to his race.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.